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Old 09-28-07, 09:42 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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I think I need to resupply my common sense...

As I've gotten into cycling, I've come a LONG way from being kind of timid out there on the road, to ... well, to what happened today.

I was on the Very Busy rush-hour jammed University Avenue, which meant that the cars were stacked up from one light to the next. No bike lane, and some parked cars. But there I go, zipping down the right side with literally an inch or two between me and the slowly moving cars (filled with tired, impatient drivers).

At some point, I see that I can't quite fit up ahead because there's a huge double bus and he's over too far to the right. So, without hesitation, I zip in front of the car to my left, which was stopped, with a very ill-conceived plan to ride in the middle of the two lanes until I get to the light up ahead. A couple of car lengths later, I realize even this plan isn't going to work, so I figure I'll ride in the middle of the street between my two lanes and the on-coming two lanes. I know, really dumb.

So I try to cut in front of yet another stopped car, and nearly wipe out taking the turn too fast. But I make it, and then when I get into the middle of the street, I can now tell that Plan C is also doomed up ahead. But now I'm in the worst position of all, in the middle of the street, and the light has just changed, so there will be on-coming traffic in a few seconds.

I made a quick decision to cut straight across the opposing lanes before that traffic can reach me, and I get myself up on the sidewalk, where I can stop and gather my wits about me. I have just been very, very lucky and very, very stupid. I was doing the very things that I think cyclists shouldn't do, and I was fortunate not to have to pay a more serious price than simple guilty thinking.

And it all had to do with my well developed sense of confidence. I feel so connected to the bike, and I know how to power up quickly, and I've maneuvered through some sticky situations before. All of these factors clouded my thinking and I now believe I sort of thought I was invincible out there -- a very dangerous mindset.

University Avenue at rush hour is not a very prudent place to be riding my bike, let alone trying something that I've only seen twenty-something folks on messenger bikes do on UTube.

I will probably take a ration of "stuff" from this post and probably deserve it, but I tell you what -- it won't be happening again any time soon! Tempting fate once and getting away with it is good. Tempting fate twice is fool-hardy!
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Old 09-28-07, 09:51 PM   #2
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I see bikers doing this stuff all of the time! And I think "What idiots!"

And now you are doing it! Hard to believe, given your previous risk avoidance attitude.

Glad you made it, but if you keep doing it, I'm afraid that one day you won't quite make it.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:06 PM   #3
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I glad you made it, if you were in Chicago, well that would be another story, indeed.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:19 PM   #4
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Geez, be careful. It would be a shame to bang up that nice new bike.
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Old 09-28-07, 10:23 PM   #5
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Perhaps you need to read the results from this Google News search:

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ne...nG=Search+News
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Old 09-28-07, 11:25 PM   #6
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Kudos to your new confidence. Not that I condone foolhardiness, but there you are, and you finessed it. I've experienced that feeling while dodging traffic and while it's a pucker-inducing few minutes, at the same time I feel vindicated that I came out safe. I try to avoid high-traffic areas but occasionally must tolerate them, as you did. Good on you for ducking and dodging and surviving to tell us about it.

When we finally bring our tandem to SD I hope you have some less insane rides than this one.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:34 PM   #7
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Wow, I'm glad you made it out of that OK .

I wonder if sometimes that just happens because we find ourselves among cars in traffic and having to act fast to keep them from blowing their horns at us and running us down, and before you know it you're in the middle of a lane and trying to think fast and all of a sudden there you are doing something crazy like this, something that you wouldn't do if only you had a little more time to think.
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Old 09-29-07, 12:53 AM   #8
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Mountain bikers do not like traffic and take great care when cars are about but Like you- I got into road riding in the last year or so. Took a while but I got into the road riders mentality of "I am invincible and all car drivers are idiots" I've learnt a few new ways of stringing strange words together occasionally and in general I get away with my antics. I am afraid that like me me- you still have a little bit to learn but remember- Buses are bigger than you and car drivers don't like pedals scraping down the side of their gleaming bodywork.
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Old 09-29-07, 01:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Louis View Post
It would be a shame to bang up that nice new bike.
The one benefit of a white bike...

...after a wreck, you just power wash the asphalt scars and bits of gravel off, hit with some Krylon Flat White #2460, let it dry for 12 minutes, and off you go!
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Old 09-29-07, 01:44 AM   #10
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Seriously Gary, this was the tap on the shoulder you needed. You must be doing something right in your life to receive this gift. Take care out there, buddy. A lot of people love you.
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Old 09-29-07, 03:15 AM   #11
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Much as I love bicycles, if I had to ride in that !@#$ I think I'd quit.

DG if you survived and got scared, thats a good thing. If it becomes commonplace..........thats when the big trouble starts.
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Old 09-29-07, 06:13 AM   #12
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These near death experiences can be very powerful. In the midst of all this, did you feel a sense of deep, abiding peace? Did you go down a tunnel where you met by a being of light? Did that being of light tell you to quit riding your bike? Did it tell you to give your bike to Jet Travis? Just askin'.
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Old 09-29-07, 06:20 AM   #13
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DG-Sounds as if you've a carreer as a bike messenger ahead of you.
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Old 09-29-07, 06:21 AM   #14
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You got to stop watching those bicycle messenger racers!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR2ygFn-yR8
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Old 09-29-07, 06:33 AM   #15
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Here is another one you shouldn't watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj1-2...elated&search=
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Old 09-29-07, 06:49 AM   #16
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DG - You learned. You survived. You have a story to tell. That's what life is about.
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Old 09-29-07, 07:05 AM   #17
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+1 consider it a lessen learned and remember the next time you are even thinking of doing something 'out of the ordinary'.
peace
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Old 09-29-07, 07:14 AM   #18
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DG-Sounds as if you've a carreer as a bike messenger ahead of you.
I thought the same thing.
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Old 09-29-07, 07:15 AM   #19
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I posted my frustration move - not as hairy as your but just as dumb (Not being critical - us dumbies gotta stick together, 2 half wits may make a whole). It's great you & the bike made it intact. Now we'll see how long your memory holds out. Stay safe, have fun, pick your time and place. If you were in a hurry you would be in a car.
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Old 09-29-07, 08:28 AM   #20
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DG,

Did you take a spill earlier and bump that noggin? Fortunately, you managed to learn without grave bodily injury.
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Old 09-29-07, 10:38 AM   #21
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Here is another one you shouldn't watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj1-2...elated&search=
He's a very skilled, confident rider, but CRAZY!!! I took a taxi ride around D.C. like that, even as a teenager it felt like a rollercoaster ride.
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Old 09-29-07, 10:49 AM   #22
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Ever since the Lady ran me into the light pole back in '91, I've
been timid of navigating traffic on my bike. More than frowning
on your experience I envy your courage and agile bike handling
skills. O.K., so you made a mistake. The drivers around you were
attentive, you realized your temporary lack of good judgement and
remedied the situation. No harm came to you or the bike and I
doubt if you tarnished the sport of cycling by any measurable amount.
Happy trails & Keep on crankin'
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Old 09-29-07, 11:24 AM   #23
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DG,

With that tale (and also your circus act that went wrong), I'm surprised you're worried about falling over with clipless pedals and having your noggin squashed by a vehicle tire.

Sorry dude. No more excuses about clipless.
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Old 09-29-07, 12:11 PM   #24
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Here is another one you shouldn't watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj1-2...elated&search=
Was that a white bike zipping through the cars? I must admit, I've had to kick my confidence down a notch a couple of times, when riding on roads where the paved shoulder disappears but the traffic doesn't. Watch your back, and be careful. This forum doesn't have enough white bikes to spare.
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Old 09-29-07, 12:26 PM   #25
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Just a word from a distant friend

You've been kind and open enough to tell us about your daughter and how much you've liked riding with her.

What would you advise her to do in traffic?

So, do that, pal!!!
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